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The glyoxylate cycle: does it function in the dormant or active bear?

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  • 1Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.


The presence of or induction of an active glyoxylate cycle (GC) in the dormant black bear whose sole source of energy is body fat is an attractive concept which would allow lipid (acetate) to be directed from oxidation via the tricarboxylic acid cycle to many biosynthetic pathways. However, in spite of earlier claims, the present report establishes that isocitrate lyase and malate synthetase, GC marker enzymes, could not be detected in liver or kidney of active or dormant bears; liver peroxisome numbers were similar. The absence of brown fat (by light microscopy) and of the GC enzymes in the dormant bear raises questions about the prior report.

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